Governor Calls For Early Childhood Education
Governor Steve Bullock says it is time to give every four-year old Montana child access to a high-quality, early childhood education.
It is one of the priorities of the Bullock Administration going into the 2015 Montana Legislative session.
Bullock kicked off the "Early Edge Montana” initiative with stops today in Hardin and Billings. He'll be in Helena and Great Falls to talk about the program Tuesday, in Missoula on Wednesday, and Bozeman on Thursday. Lieutenant Governor Angela McLean will visit Browning to talk about it on Thursday.
At the Billings YWCA, he told school officials pre-kindergarten is a voluntary program where communities and parents would retain control.
"We still know that parents are the best teachers for children," Bullock says, "and nothing I would ever want to do would replace or supplant that but we also know that not every child gets read to every evening. Parents also do the best that they can, and do the best day care or other provider as they can."
The Governor says Montana is currently one of eight states that does not provide public funding to teach four-year olds.
He says despite that, several Montana communities have taken the initiative to fund pre-school on their own. This includes in Hardin and Great Falls.
Bullock will submit to the 2015 Montana Legislature in his state budget proposal spending just over 18 million dollars a year to fund block grants for Montana school districts for pre-Kindergarten education for four year olds.
He says the money to pay for these grants would come from existing state revenue.